5 Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for General Cosmetic Dentistry
A smile worth being proud of is important to many people, but when seeking it out with the help of general cosmetic dentistry, few know what to look for. Choosing the wrong dentist or failing to ask the right questions can open a patient up to significant physical and financial pain. Fortunately, many of the most common problems can be easily avoided when a patient knows what to avoid.
Trying Too Hard
Nobody would have dental work done in an office that looked shabby and cheap, but a practice that goes too far in the other direction can be a warning sign as well. A dentist who clearly spends more money on fancy, expensive office décor and flashy advertising than on equipment and continued medical training clearly has a skewed set of priorities, and prospective patients should steer clear.
Forgetting the "Professional"
A dentist is a medical professional, and should act like one above all. Prospective patients should avoid dentists who fail to do so in any of these ways:
Overusing sedation. Whether in the context of general cosmetic dentistry or any other medical practice, sedation is a serious procedure with real risks for complications, and should only be used when medically necessary – not when a patient is nervous about a procedure.
Pushing homeopathic remedies. Real doctors trust real science. While some herbal or holistic treatments may have some virtues, there is little or no consistent scientific research to back up the claims attached to these products, and no regulations exist to ensure the reliability of their ingredients.
Neglecting further education. Continued learning is crucial for medical professionals, and the field of general cosmetic dentistry is no exception. A dentist should devote more than the mandatory number of hours per year studying the latest dental techniques and practices.
Buying the Sales Pitch
Avoid dentists who sound like used car salesmen. A good dentist won't try to fast-talk his patient into agreeing to procedures without understanding them; he should be willing to answer all questions and make sure the patient understands what he's recommending. A good dentist understands that everyone's dental and jaw structure is unique, and won't promise "perfect" results without conducting an examination and making a model, and will make sure the patient's expectations are realistic.
Neglecting to Verify
Most general cosmetic dentistry professionals will keep before-and-after photos of previous patients. Ask to see these examples of past work – and ask if the pictures are really this dentist's work. Some unscrupulous dentists will offer to buy before-and-after pictures from other dental professionals, so it's important to make sure that a dentist isn't passing off someone else's work as his own. If possible, speak with the dentist's past patients to hear firsthand about the quality of his work.
Not Shopping Around
High price doesn't always guarantee high quality, so it's worth comparing the rates and qualifications of several cosmetic dentists in an area to find out which one is really offering the best value for their patients' money.
Photo credit: okko pyykko